Hundreds walk in Fairfield to create a world free of multiple sclerosis

More than 6,500 Connecticut residents battle the effects of multiple sclerosis, a potentially debilitating disease that affects the central nervous system. In a show of support, each year hundreds of loved ones, friends, neighbors and co-workers throughout Fairfield and surrounding communities, including Westport and Bridgeport, lace up and step out in solidarity for a single cause: to create a world free of MS.

Jennings Beach will serve as the starting point for the Fairfield-based 2016 Travelers Walk MS Saturday, April 16. Check in opens at 9 a.m. and walkers will step out at 10.

The 2015 Walk MS attracted 10,500 participants and raised $1.4 million, which the National MS Society, Connecticut Chapter, hopes to duplicate this year. Last year, Team Flutterby’s, captained by Pam Lind and Alicia Teitelbaum, was the site’s top fundraising team, raising $21,172. In total, the site raised more than $108,000.

“Each year Fairfield-area residents come out in large numbers to demonstrate support for those in their community battling multiple sclerosis,” said Michael Branda, senior development manager for the National MS Society, Connecticut Chapter. “Our Fairfield walk site planning committee members have been doing an exceptional job of rallying the troops, bringing people together from all walks of life in a single effort to raise funds to find a cure.”

The 2016 Travelers Walk MS will be held Saturday, April 16, in Fairfield and Sunday, April 17, in Cheshire, Simsbury, Waterford and West Hartford. Participants can also join Walk MS Saturday, April 30, in East Hartford and Stamford and Sunday, May 1, in Litchfield and West Haven. Each walk site will feature both short and long fully-accessible routes.

“This year, our nine walks will be split up over two weekends,” continued Branda. “Weekends can become so valuable to families and our hope is that if there is a conflict for a team on one weekend, there is another walk close by the next weekend.”

The Fairfield site will feature music provided by STAR 99.9, face painting, team photos and light refreshments courtesy of Sacred Heart University. In addition The Band of Heroes will be present and participants will have a chance to meet their favorite characters from comics, movies and television.

“Shoes for the Cause” will be on-site, too, to collect gently worn shoes, sneakers, boots, cleats and handbags to raise more money for the Society. Participants and volunteers are encouraged to drop off old or unused shoes to help the Society earn additional funds.

Funds raised at Connecticut Chapter events, such as Walk MS, ensure ongoing scientific research to find a cure and provide for the continuation of vital programs and services offered by the chapter to Connecticut residents affected by MS.

Walk MS community partners include WTNH News 8, WFSB Channel 3, Univision, Serendipity Magazine, The Cheshire Herald, Connoisseur Media’s STAR 99.9, WPLR 99.1, WDRC 102.9 and The Fox 95.9, as well as WCTY 97.7, and 99Dollar DJ & Entertainment Service.

There is no fee to register for the 2016 Travelers Walk MS. However, participants are encouraged to form teams and raise funds.

To learn more about the 2016 Travelers Walk MS or to register, please visit ctfightsMS.org.

To learn more about multiple sclerosis, its effects, and programs and services offered by the chapter to those living with MS, email [email protected] or visit ctfightsMS.org.

Participants gather at the 2015 Travelers Walk MS ribbon cutting.

Participants gather at the 2015 Travelers Walk MS ribbon cutting.

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